It’s no secret that teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol, and for some, it’s a sort of right of passage. Unfortunately, over the years, the problem with teen drug abuse has become a major issue. Before the 2000s, many teens experimented with drugs like marijuana, which can become habit-forming, but they aren’t too addictive. In recent years, not only are teens experimenting with drugs at a younger age, but they’re experimenting with harder drugs. Today, it’s common for young people to abuse prescription opioids, benzodiazepines, meth, cocaine, and even heroin. Fortunately, it’s not too late for them to get substance abuse treatment.
Why Do Teens Abuse Drugs?
In order to understand why teenage drug use happens, it can be helpful to understand how the developing brain works. The two primary parts of the brain are the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. The limbic system is the emotional part of the brain, which is kind of like the gas pedal of the car that makes a person go towards what’s pleasurable. On the other hand, the prefrontal cortex is like the car’s brakes, which helps a person slow down. Unfortunately, the prefrontal cortex doesn’t fully develop until a person is in their 20s.
Some of the responsibilities of the prefrontal cortex include:
- Impulse control
- Logical decision making
- Emotional regulation
- Fear modulation
Although teens are coming into their own by discovering who they are, teen drug abuse becomes a problem because of the lack of brain development. Teens aren’t nearly as scared of the consequences as older people, so they think they’re invincible. When you combine the lack of impulse control and inability to make as many logical decisions with peer pressure, it can be a recipe for disaster.
The other major issue teens are facing that leads to teen drug use is the development of mental health issues. It’s easy to think teens are being dramatic or that they don’t have real problems, but they may be developing a mental illness. Disorders like anxiety and depression are most likely to develop during these years, so it may lead a teen to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Eventually, their substance abuse becomes a full-blown dependence and addiction. At this point, teen drug abuse treatment centers can help.
How Treatment Helps Teens Recover
It’s easy to think that teens who abuse drugs or alcohol are ruining their future, but this isn’t the case. Although they may get in some trouble, they can bounce back. The most important aspect of addiction to understand is that it’s a progressive illness; it gets worse over time. When a person is abusing drugs for years, it’s much harder to get sober. For teens, early intervention is key because they’re still in the early stages of addiction. Teens have a much better chance of recovering because they’re not on the extreme end of the addiction spectrum.
When looking for teen drug abuse treatment centers, it’s important to find one where your son or daughter will be with their peers. Teens will benefit from individual treatment, but peer support is key. It’s sometimes difficult for teens to relate to people who are older than them, but when they’re with other teens who struggle with substance abuse problems, they can relate. Your teen will see that they aren’t alone in their struggle, and they’ll see that there are others who also want to recover. Teens find that building these relationships in treatment are proof that you don’t need to drink or use drugs in order to have a social life.
Teens also benefit from individual therapy as well as mental health treatment. Individual therapy programs give your teen the opportunity to open up in a safe environment about what’s go ing on. From here, a therapist can help discover the root of why your son or daughter is using drugs in the first place. They’ll help your teen learn new behaviors and also become accountable for their recovery. A therapist is also there to help the family begin healing together as a whole to strengthen the recovery process.
Recovery Starts with Treatment
If you have a son or a daughter who is struggling with teen drug abuse issues, allow Sunflower Wellness Retreat to help. We’re an addiction treatment center that’s passionate about helping young people learn a new way of living that doesn’t involve drugs or alcohol. We offer various levels of care such as residential addiction treatment, intensive outpatient treatment and a partial hospitalization program. For more information about how we can help your family begin the healing process, call us today at 855.730.8825.